Colmar-Meyenheim Air Base (Base Aerienne 132) is an airbase in the Alsace region of France, near the German and Swiss borders. The base is 15 km south of Colmar, east of Autoroute A35. The base is bordered by farmland to the west, and surrounded by forest on its other sides.
The construction of the Colmar-Meyenheim Air Base began in 1951. The first unit to arrive was Escadre de Chasse 013 with F-86 Sabres and T-33 trainer aircraft. Escadre de Chasse 013 members lived on the base until the united disbanded on June 23, 1995. Escadre de Chasse 030 Alsace and Normandie-Niemen were the two squadrons in operation on the base after the disbandment of Escadre de Chasse 013.
The Régiment de Chasse 01/030 Normandie-Niémen was formed six months after Germany invaded the USSR in June 1941. The unit was created for cooperation between the Free French and the Soviet Union governments. There were initially 12 fighter pilots serving the German-Russian front, but the group was officially declared Groupe de Chasse GC 3 Normandie on September 1, 1942 with Commandant Pouliquen in command. After training on Yakovlev Yak-7 in January 1943, Commandant Jean Tulasne took command of the group. Between March 22, 1943 and May 9, 1945, the unit destroyed 273 enemy aircraft. It received awards from both France and the Soviet Union: The French Légion d’Honneur and the Soviet Order of the Red Banner. Joseph Stalin awarded the name "Niémen" after the battle of the Neman River in 1944. The group flew to Morocco in March 1947, trading Vulture 11s for the first of the Mirage F1Cs. The EC 02/30 unit departed North Africa on March 13, 1962. In December 1973, the base turned to Air Defense.
In 1951, F86 Sabre's and T-33 trainer aircraft arrived at the base. The Mirage IIIC arrived in 1962, the Dassault Mirage IIIE in 1965, the Dassault Mirage 5F in 1972 and finally the Dassault Mirage F1CT in 1992. The aircraft remaining after disbandment were transferred to Reims-Champagne air base.
The Régiment de Chasse 02/030 Normandie - Niémen was merged with The Régiment de Chasse 01/030 Normandie - Niémen in 2007. The French Government announced in July 2008 that all flying activities at the base would cease one year later. General Jean-Paul Paloméros, the Chief of Air Force Staff, led the ceremony for dissolution of the base. The closure of the base was a restructuring of the air force. The French Army started taking over base in July 2010. Six Mirage F1Bs and about twelve F1CTs will relocate to Reims-Champagne. The Mirage F1 will continue to operate for 4–5 years after the closure. The RC 02/030 unit was expected to return in 2012 with the Rafale Aircraft.
The air base hosts a meteorological station maintained by Météo-France; the station is the sixth driest in France (after Marignane – Marseille Provence Airport, Perpignan, Clermont-Ferrand, Chartres and Évreux) of the French meterorological service network.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Colmar-Meyenheim Aug 08". Jetwashaviationphotos.com. http://jetwashaviationphotos.com/Colmar08.aspx. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- ↑ "Airfield Directions - Colmar". Scramble.nl. http://www.scramble.nl/airports/publish/lfsc.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 Touchdown Aviation. "RC 01/030 Normandie - Niémen". Touchdown Aviation. http://www.touchdown-aviation.com/reports/2009/rc-01030-normandie--niemen.php. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- ↑ Michel. "E.P. Colmar-Meyenheim - Les Fusiliers Commandos de l'Air". Commando-air.fr. http://www.commando-air.fr/237.html. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- ↑ "Armée de l'air - Dissolution de la base aérienne de Colmar-Meyenheim - Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace". Dna.fr. http://www.dna.fr/fr/videos/info/3325501-Armee-de-l-air-Dissolution-de-la-base-aerienne-de-Colmar-Meyenheim. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
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